There’s something unusual going on at Nesbit Elementary in Tucker – student behavior that’s out of the ordinary, to say the least. It seems that at the end of the day, when most students are boarding the buses and hitting the carpool line to head home, there’s a group that’s dedicated to bucking the system, a group that’s excited to stay after school – for as much as two extra hours. But wait, there’s more – this group of young rebels is actually eager to stay and do homework. Shocking, no?
Shocking but typical for the group that Principal Clayborn Knight calls his “SCANA students,” about 30 second, third and fourth graders who participated in the school’s SCANA Energy Homework Center this year, meeting every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours after school.
The center at Nesbit Elementary is one of two SCANA Energy Homework Centers in Gwinnett; the other is at Rockbridge Elementary. Funded by SCANA Energy, the homework centers provide secure, supervised environments where children in grades two through five can spend time after school working on homework assignments and developing study skills. Staffed by certified teachers from the school, the homework centers keep students safe and comfortable within their surroundings — two important factors in helping them excel in school. SCANA now supports a total of seven centers throughout Georgia.
“The SCANA Energy Homework Center had a powerful impact on students,” says Knight. “It reinvigorated them. Our SCANA students were excited that they were going to get some additional help and one-on-one time.”
Simone McKinney, Media and Community Relations Manager, explains why the program is so vital and so needed. “Education experts consistently cite the importance of after-school programs for improving students’ self-confidence and overall academic performance. Nonetheless, funding for these programs continues to be cut, and each weekday, many children are alone and unsupervised after school. This is where SCANA Energy can step in and provide support. This investment in young students pays big dividends for the students, their families and their communities.”
For each homework center, SCANA Energy funds a 30-week budget that covers the costs for two certified teachers, snacks, supplies and student incentives. Volunteers from the community, including SCANA Energy employees, often help out as well. Participation is capped at about 30 students per center to maintain an effective student-to-teacher ratio.
In addition to receiving help with their homework, students participate in activities designed to further develop their math, reading and test-taking skills. Educational games are used to help them discover how much fun learning can be. Some students also take field trips, meet distinguished visitors, and enjoy holiday parties. For instance, at Nesbit and Rockbridge Elementary Schools, the end of the year celebrations featured special guests from Cooking Matters and a hands-on cooking demonstration for the students that stressed the importance of cooking and eating healthy.
“It’s great that SCANA has been here for our kids,” adds Knight. “They are helping them be productive citizens inside their classroom and in their own homes.”
Knight’s positive assessment is borne out by test results that show students attending SCANA Energy Homework Centers improved their reading scores by at least one letter grade and maintained or improved match scores within a letter grade. Social skills, self-esteem, attendance and confidence also soared.
For more information about SCANA Energy Homework Centers, including how to bring a center to your school, visit www.scanaenergy.com/homeworkcenters.